On the Sunday of the Lost Son, we remember the evangelical parable about a young man who left his father's home and travelled to a distant country, where he squandered his estate and became a slave to his passions. Many in today's world have followed his sad example. As Orthodox believers, we are in no doubt about the state of our world or where it is going. No hype or propaganda can hide the truth from us. The world has rejected its Creator.
A world without Christ lacks the fullness of life. Without unity with Christ, there is no sense of beauty or eternity. Away from Him, we stop looking forward to the spring, the beautiful singing of the birds goes unnoticed, and we forget how to find joy in the budding of the new leaves on trees. We cannot see happiness in the birth of a child, we fail to find warmth and satisfaction in our family life, we do not feel the pleasure of giving our love and care for our beloved. We cannot have a full life without beauty. To cite the lyrics of a popular song, we do not look beyond the routine.
The proverbial Lost Son acknowledged the depth of his fall and found the courage to return to his father. But many could find it extremely difficult to do the same. Imagine the challenge of changing our well-established habits and the regular course of our lives. It is always hard work to go off the beaten track. But we must try. We should not stick to our old ways, we must not act like die-hard moss-backs. We must return to life, rekindle our spirits. Bringing our souls back to life will be painful; our souls will suffer; we might have to die for the world. But our souls will live.
Sometimes, people say to me, "I am suffering from the pangs of conscience; I feel weighed down by the burden of my sin." It is good news for me to hear these words. They come from a living soul, a soul that is not mired in indifference and remains capable of repentance and change - like the soul of the Lost Son. But who is the Lost Son to us? And who are we relative to him? Are we like the Lost Son, or do we complain, like his older brother, "We have been going to the Church, praying and taking communion all this time, and he has just come, and the Lord gave them as much as He has given to us? He has always been absent, but the Lord accords him the same love as He gives us? But have not I deserved more, having worked much harder?"
Whatever position we take, we all need to learn how to share our love, concern and kindness with others. We cannot do so without God's help. We seek this help at church; we are not here to criticise or hurl accusations at others. We must understand that to renew ourselves and return to the fullness of life with Christ in our midst.
In today's apostolic letters, we hear the poignant reminder from Apostle Paul that we had been bought at a high price. Christ ransomed us with His blood. (1 Corinthians 07:23). We do not belong to ourselves, as this world is trying to teach us. The Body and Blood of Christ are the gifts of eternal life. Our joint prayer and communal worship are of heaven and earth; they are our bridge to life everlasting. The fullness of our life in Christ leads is creative, not destructive. In this life, people find each other, pass their love around and keep their loyalties. They will still lay down their lives for their friends. The fullness of our life in Christ is our victory over the enemy who destroys and defiles all good things around him.
So let us not stop in our progress. Glory to You, O Lord, Glory to You!